The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has endorsed the valuable role played by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in its bicentenary year.
The CPRE’s Yorkshire and Humber regional group has donated £200 as a response to the Trust’s EveryMileCounts campaign, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Trust, which cares for the canal, is marking the Leeds & Liverpool Canal’s 200th anniversary with a major fundraising appeal to restore or replace missing mileposts along the waterway’s 127 mile route.
Ron Healey, from CPRE, said: "The canal in West Yorkshire is a valuable amenity, a silver hedge and tree-lined ribbon supplemented by bank-side community pubs and other facilities for the many users - boaters, cyclists, walkers and fishermen. It is also a distinctive habitat for a variety of wildlife and provides havens of tranquillity which CPRE at all levels has been promoting countrywide.
"We hope that making this contribution will inspire our members and supporters to become involved with initiatives or activities related to the bicentenary this year. We believe the canal network and the Trust, in line with its charitable objectives, is effective in improving people’s lives. Our two organisations have much in common as we seek to protect our precious heritage with the needs of the public firmly in mind."
Alice Kay, project officer with the Trust, said: "We are very grateful to the Campaign to Protect Rural England for its generous donation. We have had a great response to our appeal on both sides of the Pennines. We are very excited to work with groups and local communities who want to be involved with refurbishing or replacing mile markers, and the half and quarter mile markers which need re-painting. That’s over 500 posts which need restoration.
"This is a massive challenge so we are still very keen to hear from volunteer groups or sponsors who would like to make donations."
The charity hopes the appeal will encourage dozens of groups and individuals to adopt their local stretch of canal and its mile marker. The Trust is looking for sponsors to donate up to £200 to restore each mile marker and volunteer work parties to help repair damaged or corroded mile posts.
The project is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose grant of £36,600 has supported the appointment of a project officer, the fabrication of new mileposts and a programme of activities, heritage events and art workshops for local residents.
Although the canal is 200 years old, the original cast iron mile markers date back to the 1890s. They were installed as a response to legislation introduced to regulate canal freight tolls - the Railway and Canal Rates, Tolls and Charges Order of 1893. This prompted the whole of the canal to be re-surveyed and new mileposts, along with half and quarter mileposts, installed along the towpaths.
Any organisation or volunteer interested in getting involved in the bicentenary EveryMileCounts project should contact Alice Kay, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Bicentenary visit Leeds & Liverpool Bicentenary